From handing out roses in Westminster to baking, our Head of Public Affairs and Research, Marie-Claire shares the different ways she’s been raising awareness for World Ovarian Cancer Day.
World Ovarian Cancer Day - what a difference a year makes! Last year we spent the day pinning roses on the Prime Minister and other MPs, handing out tens of thousands of roses with symptoms cards attached, and raising awareness of the four key signs ovarian cancer up and down the country.
And here we are in 2020. The world has turned upside down but World Ovarian Cancer Day was still the 8th May and as it turns out, was more important now than ever. There’s been a 75% drop in GPs referring patients with worrying symptoms for urgent investigative tests. This was not because Covid-19 has somehow magically cured cancer, but because people experiencing unusual symptoms have stayed at home - worried about wasting GPs’ time during a pandemic, and scared about the risk of catching the virus if they do ask for help.
Sadly it’s already difficult to catch ovarian cancer early because its vague symptoms can be easily ignored or explained away by other less serious conditions. However an early diagnosis is essential for a good outcome. We knew we had to put a spotlight on the symptoms and encourage anyone experiencing them to get them checked out by their GP.
So this year WOCD went digital. Instead of taking to the streets with armfulls of roses, we created a virtual rose garden that was brought to life by hundreds of beautiful roses that our wonderful supporters drew, knitted, painted, and even constructed out of mashed potato. And in place of last year’s information tags, our supporters shared photos of their roses far and wide on social media with messages listing the main symptoms of ovarian cancer.
“If my rose reaches one person who didn’t know the symptoms then it was worth it”Marie-Claire Platt
Looking at everyone’s amazing roses in the online garden was making me nervous. “She tries” was probably the best feedback I ever had in Art at school.
But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a creative genius (or even have a single arty bone in your body) to get involved this year. My contribution involved a box mix of brownies and some melted white chocolate. It may not have looked like something Mary Berry made, but if my homemade rose helps reach one person who didn’t know the symptoms then it was worth it.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms:
persistent stomach pain
finding it difficult to eat
Your GP wants to see you. If you’re unsure about contacting the doctor or visiting your hospital right now. We've provided some reassuring guidance if you’re unsure about contacting the doctor or visiting your hospital at this time.
Please don’t stay quiet. It could save your life.
Head of Public Affairs and Research
90% of women don’t know the four symptoms of ovarian cancer. But you can help change that. Create a rose for our virtual garden and share online with symptoms information using #OCARoseGarden, or simply make a small donation to help us raise awareness and fund ovarian cancer research.